Nick Wright previews Warriors vs Spurs in round one of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Playoffs

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In his discussion with Cris Carter and Jenna Wolfe, Nick Wright previews Warriors vs Spurs in round one of the 2018 NBA Western Conference Playoffs, detailing why he believes Golden State will defeat San Antonio.

- I'd like to congratulate the Golden State Warriors on advancing to round two of these NBA playoffs. Because they-- I said a few weeks ago, I don't care if Steph's there for round one. A team with KD, Clay, and Draymond is not losing in round one.

And then we saw this team look shaky for a couple weeks. And I start looking at the bracket. And I'm like, oh, man, if they get Minnesota with Jimmy Butler coming back. Karl Anthony Towns is a tough enough match up to where the Warriors can't necessarily play that small ball they like to do. Minnesota could give them trouble.

How about Utah? One of the four hottest teams in basketball the last 35 games, with probably, defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, with Donovan Mitchell as a wing. Like, they could maybe push them a little bit. OKC, when you don't have Steph out there, and just Russ running on hatred and energy. Like, could they present them some trouble? Maybe. The one team that I was most confident the Warriors wanted to get is the team they got, San Antonio.

Like, the only match-up edge the Spurs have is the coaching edge, if you ask me. Like, that's the only one.

- I would say another struggle is going to be inside. They're going to have to-- they're going to have to deal with the hype. Gasol, like, LaMarcus Aldridge, they're going to have to deal with. Can San Antonio dominate the boards? Because if they're able to dominate the boards, they're able to slow them down from getting out into transition, which that's what Golden State wants to do.

- However, I agree with you there, C. But the one thing the Spurs don't have that the Pelicans had, that the Blazers had, that the Thunder had, that the Jazz had, is a perimeter player that scares you. A perimeter player that can take advantage of Quinn Cook being out there. A perimeter player that can punish you because you don't have Steph Curry to match him. Dejounte Murray does not scare anyone. Tony Parker, at this point in his career, is not scaring anyone.

If the Warriors could have said-- if they could have set the bracket the way they wanted it-- what they would have said is, "Spurs in round one. And then, if we could choose round two, Blazers/Pelicans winner works for us." Like, so I don't-- I was-- a few weeks ago I was certain they wouldn't have any trouble in round one.

Then, I had to look at the evidence from the last few weeks. I was like, oh, they get Minnesota, maybe there could be some problems. I don't see anyway, that San Antonio Spurs do more than win one basketball game in this series. Not without Kawhi. And we know Kawhi's not coming back.

- OK. Well, one of the players that we are going to all be focused on is the guy over your shoulder, CC, and that's Kevin Durant, who was shaky at best coming down the stretch. Where a lot of people said, well, when Steph's out, you look to KD as your leader. And he'll step up and he'll sort of guide this team and motivate and put the points up and keep them in it. He hasn't done that. How much now, does KD have to prove heading into this first round against the Spurs?

- Well, you're in the playoffs now. You're talking about this is where legacies are made, not in the last 12 games. To think Kevin Durant didn't-- or he played bad down the stretch, it wasn't that he played bad. It's just he wasn't the type of leader that people wanted. People thought the offense was going to run through him. But you can't change the system in Golden State. That's not his fault. Kevin Durant is the second best player in the world. That's what you'll see in the playoffs.

You're talking about match-ups? Who do they have going to be able to take him-- take him out of his game?

- Right.

- No one. All right. He is one of the most prolific scorers that we have ever seen. You're talking about Kevin Durant, what did he say about LeBron? "LeBron likes to work on his body. I like working on my shot." Kevin Durant, he-- him and James Harden will probably be the most-- offensively, in the first round of the playoffs-- those are the guys that present the most match-ups against you.

Like, I guarantee you Kevin Durant will take the initiative to the offense. He knows what's at stake. So and Kawhi not being there? Like, they don't have the answer for KD. I expect KD to be, until Steph comes back, to take on. Because you've had time to look at it.

- He's got to now.

- You've had time to think about it. And you're playing for everything. You can get eliminated. So I don't believe that's going to be a problem. And I believe that Steve Kerr will come up with an offensive system that will get KD involved. And they will try to get in transition.